Fact Sheet

Solar Orbiter is a mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric physics. It was selected as the first medium-class mission of ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Programme. The programme outlines key scientific questions which need to be answered about the development of planets and the emergence of life, how the Solar System works, the origins of the Universe, and the fundamental physics at work in the Universe.

News

News

ESA scales down science mission operations amid pandemic
24 March 2020

In response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, ESA has decided to further reduce on-site personnel at its mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The new adjustments require temporarily stopping instrument operation and data gathering on four Solar System missions: Cluster, ExoMars TGO, Mars Express and Solar Orbiter.

First Solar Orbiter instrument sends measurements
17 February 2020

First measurements by a Solar Orbiter science instrument reached the ground on Thursday, providing a confirmation to the international science teams that the magnetometer on board is in a good shape following a successful deployment of the spacecraft's instrument boom.

Solar Orbiter braves challenging early days
14 February 2020

At 16:00 CET on Thursday, 13 February, the critical first 83 hours of Solar Orbiter's unique mission to study our star came to an end.

Liftoff for Solar Orbiter, ESA's mission to face the Sun up close
10 February 2020

ESA's Solar Orbiter mission lifted off on an Atlas V 411 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 05:03 CET on 10 February on its mission to study the Sun from new perspectives.

Solar Orbiter Launch

Solar Orbiter Launch

Solar Orbiter launch replay
10 February 2020

Watch a replay of the live coverage of the launch of Solar Orbiter, ESA's new Sun-exploring spacecraft, which will look at our parent star from a completely new perspective. The spacecraft was launched by the US Atlas V 411 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 10 February 2020.

Spotlight on ...

Spotlight on ...

Solar Orbiter launch media kit
27 January 2020

Download this interactive media kit to learn more about the launch of Solar Orbiter in February 2020 and the science goals of the mission.

Solar Orbiter's journey around the Sun
17 October 2019

Animation showing the trajectory of Solar Orbiter around the Sun, highlighting the gravity assist manoeuvres that will enable the spacecraft to change inclination to observe the Sun from different perspectives.

Spacecraft Testing

Spacecraft Testing

#5: Electric and magnetic fields under control for Solar Orbiter
23 September 2019

An important stage in the development of ESA's Solar Orbiter mission was completed between May and June, when a series of tests to validate the electromagnetic compatibility and magnetic properties was carried out on the spacecraft's flight model.

#4: Simulating zero gravity
2 August 2019Like most spacecraft, ESA's Solar Orbiter carries a number of deployable structures that play key roles in the success of its mission. Earlier this year, engineers completed a series of deployment tests on the spacecraft's antennas, instrument boom and solar arrays.
#3: Good vibes for Solar Orbiter
1 April 2019Having successfully completed its thermal-vacuum tests in December, Solar Orbiter has been subjected to a new series of arduous environmental tests at the IABG facility in Ottobrunn, Germany, including intense shaking of the spacecraft to ensure that it will survive the stress of launch.

Featured Publications

Featured Publications

ESA BR-345: Solar Orbiter - Facing the Sun
1 October 2019

Solar Orbiter is a mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric physics. It will address big questions in Solar System science to help us understand how the Sun creates and controls the heliosphere. The spacecraft will provide close-up, high-latitude observations of the Sun to gain new information about the solar wind, the heliospheric...

1-Apr-2020 15:26 UT

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https://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter

Solar Orbiter launch counter

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